Bulletin of Volcanology

, Volume 73, Issue 1, pp 55–72 | Cite as

Spatio-temporal hazard estimation in the Auckland Volcanic Field, New Zealand, with a new event-order model

  • Mark S. Bebbington
  • Shane J. Cronin
Research Article


The Auckland Volcanic Field (AVF) with 49 eruptive centres in the last c. 250 ka presents many challenges to our understanding of distributed volcanic field construction and evolution. We re-examine the age constraints within the AVF and perform a correlation exercise matching the well-dated record of tephras from cores distributed throughout the field to the most likely source volcanoes, using thickness and location information and a simple attenuation model. Combining this augmented age information with known stratigraphic constraints, we produce a new age-order algorithm for the field, with errors incorporated using a Monte Carlo procedure. Analysis of the new age model discounts earlier appreciations of spatio-temporal clustering in the AVF. Instead the spatial and temporal aspects appear independent; hence the location of the last eruption provides no information about the next location. The temporal hazard intensity in the field has been highly variable, with over 63% of its centres formed in a high-intensity period between 40 and 20 ka. Another, smaller, high-intensity period may have occurred at the field onset, while the latest event, at 504 ± 5 years B.P., erupted 50% of the entire field’s volume. This emphasises the lack of steady-state behaviour that characterises the AVF, which may also be the case in longer-lived fields with a lower dating resolution. Spatial hazard intensity in the AVF under the new age model shows a strong NE-SW structural control of volcanism that may reflect deep-seated crustal or subduction zone processes and matches the orientation of the Taupo Volcanic Zone to the south.


Monogenetic volcanism Basaltic volcanic fields Probabilistic hazard Tephrostratigraphy 



We wish to acknowledge support by the NZ FRST-IIOF Grant “Facing the challenge of Auckland’s Volcanism” (MAUX0808). We thank Jan Lindsay and Ian Smith (U of Auckland) for valuable discussion on event ages and other features of the AVF and Kate Arentsen (Massey U) for comments on the manuscript. Reviews by Olivier Jaquet and an anonymous referee led to important improvements in the paper.


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© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Volcanic Risk SolutionsMassey UniversityPalmerston NorthNew Zealand
  2. 2.Institute of Fundamental Sciences—StatisticsMassey UniversityPalmerston NorthNew Zealand

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